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Tenancy Agreement U-Turn

The government has backed down on plans to introduce a longer standard tenancy agreement.

At the RESI conference in September last year, housing minister Brandon Lewis suggested that the government may introduce a longer standard tenancy agreement in the private rental sector. Lewis launched the government’s new model tenancy agreement, which was sent for consultation with the letting industry.

At the RESI conference, Lewis said: “Today we are publishing our own tenancy agreement which tenants can use to ask for longer tenancies from their landlord if they want to.

“These agreements will also benefit landlords as it allows them to avoid leaving their properties empty and paying fees to lettings agents for finding new tenants as often.”

Lewis gave an interview to The Sunday Times published on the 16th August, and in this interview he appears to have made a U-turn.

The Sunday Times article reiterates recent announcements on a possible blacklist for rogue letting agents and additional licensing rules to prevent unsafe and overcrowded homes. However, he ruled out any longer standard tenancy agreement according to Sunday Times journalist Martina Lees, who interviewed Lewis.

Lewis was quoted by the paper as having commented: “If you get too much regulation in the [private rental] sector it drives down supply and in the long run that’s bad for tenants.”

Victor Jameson of New View Residential, letting agents in Cambridge, commented: “I am glad to hear of the tenancy agreement U-turn. Probably, 50% of our tenancy agreements are initially for six months. There are usually good reasons for this.

“The applicant may only want a six-month tenancy agreement for work or personal reasons. Often, our Cambridge landlords want to get to know a new tenant before committing to a longer tenancy agreement. This seems reasonable enough.

“The Housing Act has been instrumental in making tenancy agreements as flexible as possible. This has had the benefit of opening up the private rental sector. Any loss of flexibility would be bad news for landlords and tenants.”

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